Persimmons are a gorgeous, sunset-colored fruit with a delicately sweet flavor. I’m incredibly fortunate that my sister’s in-laws have a farm in Kingsburg, California, and for the last couple years I’ve been given several beautiful persimmons to enjoy. They are such a treat.
These squat, tomato-shaped persimmons are the Fuyu variety, and they can be enjoyed while still firm. They are wonderful in salads. The Hachiya variety are oblong, and must be eaten when very ripe, otherwise they’re bitter. I usually prefer just eating those straight with a spoon, or in yogurt.
Plated salads like this are called composed salads. While it might look fancy, this one is actually very simple to make. Crisp endive, sweet persimmons, and crunchy fennel are wonderful with the creamy blue cheese. This salad has enough going on that I kept the dressing very basic (just oil and vinegar). The cheese quality is very important here, so please use the good stuff. I used Oregon Blue made by Rogue Creamery, which also happens to be one of the cheeses we served at our wedding.
Persimmon, Belgian Endive, and Fennel Salad (Serves 1)
- One head of Belgian Endive
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 bulb fennel
- One Fuyu persimmon
- 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
- Chopped parsley
- Black pepper
- If starting with a full fennel bulb, but it in half lengthwise twice. Remove the core from one quarter. Very thinly slice the fennel horizontally. You can use a mandolin if you prefer.
- Combine the oil and vinegar to make a quick dressing. Add a little salt. Toss sliced fennel with a little of the dressing. Set fennel aside and reserve the remaining dressing.
- Cut the end of the endive. Peel apart the leaves. Cut more of the core away as you peel the leaves. Toss the leaves in a little of the dressing. Lay them out on a plate, in a single layer as you wish.
- Thinly slice the persimmon, and set it on top of the endive.
- Scatter the blue cheese and walnuts, tucking some into the endive if desired.
- Top with the sliced fennel. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.